PMR Finds Missing Timber Worker in Remote Canyon
Saturday, March 4, 2006
Saturday afternoon, a Portland Mountain Rescue search team found a missing timber worker
who had been lost in the remote terrain of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation east of
Oregon's Mount Jefferson.
The worker, a "timber cruiser," had been marking trees for future logging when
she became separated from her two-person team and disoriented. Unable to find her
way back to the vehicle, the worker wandered the wilderness for two days, eventually ending
up in the rugged Shitike Creek Canyon. The subject built a fire to endure frigid
overnight temperatures, reaching as low as 18 degrees on Saturday morning.
Satellite view of Shitike Canyon in the Warm Springs Indian Reservation
Two three-person PMR search teams joined other teams from Pacific Northwest Search and
Rescue, the Deschutes County Search and Rescue Team and the Multnomah County Explorer
Post No. 631.
One of the PMR teams ended up at Shitike Creek Canyon and, to better cover the vast
territory, the team sent each searcher into a different level of the canyon -- on the
plateau, in the middle of the canyon and near the bottom of the canyon. While
calling out the subject's name, PMR rescuer Maria Nelson heard an audible "help"
coming from near her location. Shortly after, Nelson found the woman, who was
warming her feet in the sunshine at her impromtu campsite.
The PMR team then helped the relatively uninjured subject walk out of the canyon and
brought her back to safety.
Fortunately, when the timber worker realized she was lost, she stayed in the same
location, used basic survival skills, such as creating a fire, and waited for
rescue. Many persons continue wandering while lost, making the search area
extremely large. In this case, the subject kept the search area small by
remaining in the same general area where she disappeared.